It’s 2019, and small businesses recognize the need for change. According to a new small business study by HigherVisibility, 88% of small business owners say that an online presence is crucial for their business’s success.
Small businesses have always faced unique challenges when it comes to advertising and generating brand awareness. They generally work limited resources and need to maximize the return on investment for their efforts. For such an overwhelming majority of small business owners to advocate for establishing an online presence, this suggests that online marketing provides them the most bang for their buck.
HigherVisibility surveyed 1,000 small business owners with at least one employee and a website for their business and asked questions about how they approach a variety of digital marketing practices. One of the most common marketing strategies was utilizing social media. Over 80% of respondents claimed that social media was important to their business. This makes sense for SMBs; by utilizing free channels of communication with their customers, they have a cost-efficient way to foster brand loyalty.
And that is a trend throughout the results of HigherVisibility’s survey: SMBs recognizing value, yet looking for the most cost-effective way for them to reap the rewards. Over 80% of SMBs handle their social media pages in-house. And not only that, over 50% of small business owners even created their website in-house, either using an online website builder or designing the website themselves.
Despite Recognizing The Value Of Online Marketing, SMBs Aren’t Always Successful
With that said, small business owners seem to be lacking some of the knowledge to truly take advantage of the online marketplace. When asked to identify the primary goal of their website, 38.1% of respondents claimed that their website was for “general brand awareness.” Another 3.7% admitted that they didn’t even have a primary goal for their website.
This also seems to lead to some unrealistic expectations for their marketing budget. 44.3% of respondents said that they budget less than $500 per month on digital marketing activities. And while that lines up with their desire to reduce costs whenever they can, that doesn’t necessarily achieve the results they might like.
Additionally, if SMBs were planning to hire an SEO company to handle their digital marketing, 68.8% of respondents would expect significant results within the first 3 months of their campaign. For anyone actively working in the field of SEO, that’s not something that can be guaranteed.
This provides online marketers with the opportunity to educate small businesses on the practices that will make their online marketing a success. SMB’s may not be fully aware of how digital marketing and SEO can benefit their business. They may also be unaware of how much money they would need to spend to truly maximize their return on investment. With that said, the overwhelming majority of SMBs are now aware of how much the online marketplace can help their business; it’s up to marketers to fill in the blanks and make that opportunity a reality.
In closing, the study paints a fairly clear picture of the priorities of small businesses and how these priorities have changed to adapt to a digital world. Small businesses are aware of the importance of the digital marketplace, but would rather use their in-house resources to make a splash online. Whether this is feasible will depend on the business, but small business owners need more information on digital marketing to make the most of their time and efforts.
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